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Gloria Taylor Regains Right to Die in Peace

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Leading Up to the August Decision

Just over a year ago Taylor joined the B.C. Civil Liberties Association’s suit challenging laws that criminalize assisted suicide. Because of her precarious health, the B.C. Supreme Court agreed to hasten the proceedings. Originally scheduled for spring 2012, the were moved to November 2011.

In June 2012 Gloria Taylor won the right to ask for a physician’s assistance to end her suffering. Judge Lynn Smith granted an exemption to the ban against assisted suicide because of Taylor’s rapidly deteriorating condition. At the same time, she gave the federal government a year to re-write the legislation.

The Government of Canada chose to appeal Judge Smith’s decision. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson wrote:

The laws surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide exist to protect all Canadians, including those who are most vulnerable, such as people who are sick or elderly or people with disabilities. The Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged the state interest in protecting human life and upheld the constitutionality of the existing legislation in Rodriguez (1993).

Opposing Reactions to the Decision

In an interview reported in the Vancouver Sun, Taylor’s lawyer, Sheila Tucker, said:

We’re particularly pleased with the fact that the court was very cognizant of the fact that, for Gloria, it really is a case of irreparable harm, because she’ll either get to use that exemption and have the value of that exemption now, or she never will.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, one of the groups to speak out against the decision, said:

It is inconceivable that a judge can order death by assisted suicide for Gloria Taylor, which is prohibited by the criminal code, after parliament overwhelmingly rejected assisted suicide in April 2010 by a vote of 228 to 59, and after the Supreme Court of Canada decided in 1993 that Canada’s assisted suicide was constitutional.

Allowing Taylor the right to decide the timing of her death is quite different from ordering it. Stringent safeguards should she decide to exercise her option.

Next: Justice Shows Compassion

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84 comments

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8:17PM PDT on Sep 4, 2012

The right to make the decision about right to die, is the last decision a person has. The government should have no say in it.

9:45AM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

It is entirely up to her.

12:58AM PDT on Aug 23, 2012

We end the suffering of our pets but we humans have to endure our pain. Why? I think Christianity has placed this idea in our culture. I think if you are dying you should have a choice if too end your life if there is no hope of getting better.

10:07AM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

What is it about our society that pushes people to want to prolong life at all cost, even when there is no hope, much suffering and total dependancy? This, to me , is preposterous and cruel!
Everyone should have the right to decide weather or not to go on living! (living? - what a life!!!)

12:42PM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

I believe that your life is Your only personal possession and that you should have the ability and right, to prolong Your life, or not, regardless of the reason.

6:07AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

Thanks for the info.

7:23PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

i would definitely like to have a choice

2:10PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

Anyone who is anyone, who suffers from a painful disease, should be allowed to die peacefully even if it is assisted by drugs that will kill the pain and make it quick, and not have to be afraid of suffocating because their lungs stop working or choking because their throat muscles stop working.

Now those that just want to die, and are healthy otherwise, needs to go get help from a professional.

We are willing to peacefully kill our pets through euthanasia, but not our own kind who are suffering painfully and cannot be cured?

12:22PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

Every human should have the right to decide how they want to die. the gov't. does NOT have the right to interfer or to dictate peoples right to die.

11:09AM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

Why should anyone have to have a personal exception? As an adult I have the right to do what ever I want with MY body and life. Right now I live in alot of pain due to a policy by the VA to cut my pain meds in half. When the pain gets too bad I have already decided to kill myself. Sadly because of stupid laws I will have to do this while alone so that my family is not charged. I believe in reincarnation and do not fear death. I do however fear becoming a non functioning person. I've lived my entire life as an active and independent person. I've never understood why we can give our pets a merciful and easy death surrounded by the people they love yet we sentence humans we love to a horrible life or a solitary death.

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